A 16-year-old who stopped a young man from coming to the aid of a friend during a bashing has expressed his deep remorse at being involved.
The Gwynneville teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was one of four young men allegedly involved in the attack, which left the 19-year-old victim with a life-threatening brain injury.
Appearing in Wollongong District Court yesterday, the now 18-year-old pleaded guilty to a charge of affray.
Giving him a one-year good-behaviour bond, Judge Paul Conlon said the young man's involvement was at the lower end of the scale and totally out of character.
He was among a group of teens who travelled by train to Dapto on February 25, 2011, to attend a party, which police shut down.
During the journey back to the train station, an argument broke out between the teens and another group, the court heard. The groups traded insults before the victim started walking towards the teens.
His mate was following close behind.
The victim allegedly picked up a roof tile, while one of the teens started pulling palings off a wooden fence.
The 16-year-old approached the victim's friend while holding "a thin object", the court heard.
It is alleged one of the co-accused then struck the victim across the head with a paling.
When the attack ended, the four co-accused left the scene.
The victim was taken to Wollongong Hospital, where he underwent emergency brain surgery.
He was in a coma for several days and had a metal plate inserted into his skull.
Defence lawyer Greg West, appearing for the teen, said the incident was something his client "deeply, deeply regrets".
He said the young man had severed ties with the other people involved in the assault, had no prior record and was unlikely to reoffend.
Judge Conlon said he was convinced the teen's involvement in the attack was "totally out of character".
And he gave the young man a 12-month good-behaviour bond.
Two other teenage males have already pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the attack.
A fourth co-accused has pleaded not guilty and will stand trial on September 2.